A New Resident's Days of Becoming a Teacher
(Liang Jinqun currently serves as a Chinese teacher at Taichung I-Ning High School)
I'm Liang Jinqun, a Malaysian Chinese. I came to Taiwan to study for a bachelor's and a master's degree at the Department of Chinese Literature at Feng Chia University. I have become a Taiwanese bride since 1996 and lived in Taichung. After graduating, I had worked in the fields of culture and print media, and in 2001, I got an unexpected chance to serve as a supply teacher at a private vocational high school in Taichung. Since then, I've been deeply in love with the process of helping others and this career as a teacher. I think teaching is the most meaningful job in the world, so I decided to be a teacher as my lifetime career.
Therefore, since 2003, I've started to make use of holidays to study the teacher education program at the National Chengchi University, passed through two years without holidays, and went back and forth from the north and the south. After that, I started preparing for taking the teacher certification exam. With my strong perseverance, I studied until midnights, woke up at 4 a.m., served as an administrator and mentor during weekdays, slept for only four hours every day, and finally got a teacher certificate in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, I had continued serving as a supply teacher and joined the recruitment and assessment of teachers in public schools.
The process of five-year harsh recruitment in public schools is the saddest memory in my life. Joining in the recruitments in junior high schools and high schools over and over again and struggling with the recruitments in schools in Taichung, Changhua, and Nantou year after year has brought me many unsuccessful experiences. After failing an exam, there would be another challenge following, and I had always been struggling with those difficult days and studying hard the subjects of the recruitments of schools.
In the beginning, I often got eliminated because of losing one point or two points in the first round of the written test. However, after I thought I could enter the second round of tests, I usually got eliminated again.
How painful the progress was! However, during those five years, with a strong spirit and perseverance, I had still been taking more than 30 difficult exams! I repeatedly told myself, "Fall, cry, nothing, I will get up again!".
I'll never forget the second round of a teaching demonstration that finally made me regretful of joining recruitments in public schools! That second round of the exam made me understand that the game was over! I've spoken Cantonese since I was little and always practices loudly reading Mandarin Daily News to remind myself of not having the Cantonese accent when speaking. However, I still made some mistakes sometimes, but that is the blood of mine that I can't deny or hide. When the review committee showed their ambiguous smiles and suspicious eyes and asked me, "Excuse me, Ms. Liang, are you an overseas student?" I knew, come on! I failed again!
The last oral exam drew the next short rests for me. The scene that will never be forgotten is still engraved in my heart, and it always makes me painful. At that time, a committee laughed loudly and used a playful tone talking to me, "Are you from Malaysia? You should be taking the exam for English teachers, right? why Chinese teachers?". Oh yes! I felt so regretful majoring in Chinese. I finally realized that as a Malaysian, I couldn't be a Chinese teacher in high schools because there was a stereotype of "Malaysians can't be Chinese teachers". Those first rounds, second rounds, failing experiences of exams, and the five years of joining the recruitments in high schools were just a farce! I was too stupid to see my disadvantages.
I drove my old car to take those exams, studied until midnights after work, and took so many exams. It didn't matter if I loved teaching, and no one cared if I was a good teacher or not. The right to speak was with others. When they asked: "You are a Malaysian, then are you suitable to be a Mandarin teacher?", perhaps there were unspeakable subtle discrimination, derogation, and mockery: "You even speak Mandarin in a Cantonese accent, do you still want to be a Mandarin teacher?". Right, even if you have a bachelor's degree, have won the Ministry of Education's Literary and Art Creation Award, have awarded a model teacher, and are listed in Education Award, people still call you "a foreign bride"! When stereotypes exist, you actually fail in the first place!
What is the real factor that made me fail? There is never an answer! What is fair in this world? How can I do with this unfair world? At that moment, I got an epiphany! The label that can never be ripped off is a "blind spot" that I can never breakthrough. In this case, should I continue struggling with it? Life is so difficult, but I still need to bravely go on my way. I deeply know that I can't shrink back for the teaching job that I've loved. Being humble is the only way out. Therefore, I decided to take a step back and served as a teacher in a private school for the rest of my life! Why not? In 2010, I gave up joining the recruitments in public schools to finish the five years of painful experiences.
(Ms. Liang Jinqun and her students)
Now, I'm grateful for the two private schools recruiting me. I appreciate they gave me a chance to make contributions. I've devoted to private schools for 18 years and have lived in Taiwan for 29 years. With the rapid development of Taiwan and the implement of New Southbound Policy, new residents have finally gained more respects!
By Liang Jinqun